Delhi govt to implement odd-even traffic restriction if AQI rises to 450, plans afoot to generate artificial rain
New Delhi: With the pollution level increasing after Diwali, Delhi Environment Minister Gopal Rai said that the government will implement the odd-even vehicle rationing system if the Air Quality Index (AQI) exceeds 450 (severe plus). Also, the government is considering to use technology to generate artificial rainfall in Delhi to reduce air pollution.
A day after Diwali, Rai held a meeting with the officials of his department at the secretariat regarding the deteriorating air quality. After the meeting, Rai said that important issues pertaining to reduction of air pollution were discussed with the officials and an action plan has been prepared.
Earlier, the government had announced implementing the odd-even traffic restriction plan to check air pollution in Delhi from November 13 to 20. The move was later postponed in view of the improvement in pollution levels. Now, it has been decided that the traffic rationing system will be implemented if the air quality index exceeds 450 or above.
This apart, the government is also contemplating to generate artificial rain in Delhi. A proposal in this regard has already been sought from IIT Kanpur and the officials are waiting for the report to take a final decision on the matter.
Rai alleged that the fireworks that burst in Delhi on Diwali were brought from BJP-run Uttar Pradesh and Haryana. He said that AQI had fallen to 215 in Delhi but the manner in which fireworks were burst here led the AQI to go up to 315. "I want to thank those who refrained from bursting crackers. People celebrated the festival with great pomp by lighting lamps," Rai added.
The minister said that the situation in Delhi would not have deteriorated so much if the restrictions on bursting firecrackers were implemented properly in Uttar Pradesh and Haryana. He also accused the BJP leaders of instigating people to burst firecrackers leading to a rise in pollution level.
It has been decided that the Graded Response Action Plan (GRAP)-4 will remain in force till the next instructions of the Quality Management Commission. Under this, there will be a ban on BS-3 petrol and BS-4 diesel driven vehicles in Delhi. There will be a ban on trucks other than essential services, he said adding that the CNG vehicles will be exempted. Also, there will be a ban on all types of construction and demolition while schools will remain closed till November 18.
Rai also said that a month-long anti-dust campaign was held from October 7 to November 7 and over 20,000 inspections have been conducted so far. A fine of Rs 2.47 lakh crore was imposed in this connection.
Again, from November 14 to 30 November, 591 teams will conduct inspections under the anti-dust campaign and 611 teams have been deployed for anti-open burning drives. From tomorrow onwards, 375 water sprinklers will be used to spray water on the roads, he added.